Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Stories and Tales >> The Prima Donna: A Passage from City Life >> Page 188

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Short Stories | U of South Carolina P | 1974
Transcription I88THE PRIMA DONNA
Shall I confess my folly? The next night found me again at
the theatre, and every night on which she did not perform, I was
a ghostlike stalker through the lonely street to me not lonely
in which she lived. She saw me not she knew not of my proximity,
though I sometimes fancied, with the vanity of a youthful spirit,
that she suspected it. She had seen me at the theatre—she had
seen me beneath the lamp on the night when I followed her home.
She could not doubt the admiration which was expressed by my
action and my eyes, and surely, she knew enough of the nature of
man to know that where his heart is, there will his form be also. I
drew conviction, on this head, from another fact. Nightly and
constantly she sang while I traversed the pave before her dwelling;
and the strains were those of a sad tenderness, of a heart pouring
forth the irrepressible moans of a defeated love. At the theatre, her
eyes so I persuaded myself frequently sought out mine; and it
seemed to me, at such moments, that her song trembled, and her
voice became subdued, even though the burden of the music called
for the greatest exertion of her powers. How small and shadowy
are the tokens which persuade the youthful imagination into con-
fidence and hope!
The passion which this girl had awakened in my bosom was such
as to lead me to a complete departure from many of my usual habits.
I now remembered certain old acquaintance among the editorial
fraternity clever, good-humoured fellows who, I well knew, pos-
sessed carte blanche at all the theatres. One of these, in particular,
a vivacious literary and political writer —a fellow who could write a
comedy after supper and a review before breakfast, and who was
sufficiently popular in the community tQ do as he pleased with every
body had been a frequent companion of my idle hours during my
first acquaintance with New York. Him I had seen frequently at the
theatre while my inamorata was playing, and his voice, through the
medium of his papers, had been one of the loudest in her eulogy.
I resolved on renewing my acquaintance with him, and availing
myself, as far as I could, of the privileges which he possessed to
procure some of those which I desired. I did accordingly. I called